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Months After Summertime Flooding, 900 Detroit Households Still in Need of Aid


It’s estimated that America’s HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) industry employs as many as 301,123 workers — but even that might not be enough to help homeowners in the Detroit metropolitan area get back on their feet after August’s record flooding.

“Everything has not been resolved,” Cheryl Tipton, outreach chairwoman at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Detroit, told the Detroit News. “People still have things that have not been repaired or replaced.”

As the basement is a common place to store furnaces and air conditioning systems, the approximately 900 Detroit households still recovering from last summer’s water damage will likely need a good deal of HVAC repair work done as well.

That’s why Tipton, along with a group of other Detroit-based faith and community leaders, have been coming together to do what they can for these 900 households.

“We’re pooling together our resources to help those that have needs to come in and do the work,” Robbin Rivers, vice chairwoman of outreach ministries at St. Paul’s, said. “It’s not a hand out. It’s help.”

Tipton and Rivers have both been learning about how to help by attending various workshops on disaster management and flood relief. They also received briefing on emotional and spiritual care.

The volunteers’ aid is especially crucial at this point in time — the deadline for those affected by the summer’s flooding to apply for financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) passed in mid-December, meaning hundreds of Detroit residents have nowhere else to turn for help. More than 126,000 people initially applied for FEMA aid throughout the Detroit area, receiving a cumulative $140.2 million in grants.

As the volunteers from St. Paul’s and other organizations like Church World Service get to work, they will face mold remediation concerns, flooded basements and more — but it will all be for a good cause.

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